Recall the golden years of aeromodelling with these pictures of magazines published in Australia and having significant control line content.
Australian Model Hobbies
"Australian Model Hobbies", published irregularly around the beginning of the nineteen fifties by Bill Evans, was the first Australian magazine to publish significant control line aeromodelling content. Early issues of this magazine dealt almost exclusively with free flight aeromodelling, as this was at the time about the only kind of model aircraft flown. But as control line developed so did its coverage in "Australian Model Hobbies". Old copies of this magazine now provide some of the best records we have of the early days of aeromodelling in Australia.
Following the demise of "Australian Model Hobbies" there were control line articles in newspaper type publications such as the short lived "Boy", but no Australian published aeromodelling magazines existed until "Model News" appeared.
Model News"Model News" was first published by Russ Hammond and Adrian Bryant during 1956, making its first appearance at the Traralgon Nationals of that year. The magazine grew until October 1958 when Russ took over sole control of Model News. With the help of Noel and Tony Shennan, the magazine grew to take on a more professional look, and Gordon and Gotch became its distributors. Slot cars, plastic kits, and rockets joined the models covered in Model News, and helped it achieve its best ever sales figures of 6000 in April 1964.
Meanwhile, Russ Hammond had handed control of the magazine back to Adrian Bryant in June 1963 when Russ' joinery business began demanding more of his time. Publication continued up until December,1965. Its only competition in Australia was from magazines published overseas. Appearing during the golden years for control line it naturally had lots of control line content plus an appropriate mix of free flight and radio control content.
As a medium of communication between Australian aeromodellers "Model News" was invaluable; unsurpassed in its time. Australian aeromodelling would have been much the poorer had it not been for the enthusiasts who published "Model News." Contributors to the magazine included some of the country's highest profile modellers, often writing under noms de plume. Tony Farnan was known as "Nitro", Monty Tyrrell as "Tensix", and Leo Toft as "Avian". But the publishers could never afford to pay for contributions, which probably means the magazine was never a raging commercial success.
In the Aeromodelling Digest of 1993 (published by Merv Buckmaster) Adrian Bryant reports that "Bitterness between the makers of RC gear brought about the end of model News. If we published contest results without naming the brand of equipment used, they wanted to know why! If we named the brand, the other makers claimed that it was actually theirs. When it reached the stage of pending litigation, it was time to roll up the tent and move on. "
"Modellers Monthly" was a cross between a magazine and a newspaper that appeared for a while in the years following the demise of "Model News". "Modellers Monthly" featured a bit of control line content mixed in with scale non-flying aircraft models, boats, cars, and so on. It largely ignored radio controlled modelling, a brave move at a time when radio control seemed to be the only branch of aeromodelling capable of supporting viable Australian aeromodelling magazines.
By the year 2000 Airborne Magazine had become Australia's longest-lived magazine, and was describing itself as Australia's leading radio control model aeroplane magazine. It began in NSW with excellent control line content, as can be seen from the cover illustrated at right, of issue number one. Later, for several years it was edited by free flight enthusiast Merv Buckmaster in Victoria and contained occasional control line articles. Today, its control line content seems to have disappeared.
Overseas magazines were widely read in Australia, providing us with news of what was happening in modelling circles worldwide.